Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009


Harvest Table

I found this table in a dark corner of my Grandma’s basement.  It was covered in cobwebs and my Mom remarked that it was something we might buy at the flea market.  I didn’t give it much thought because it looked a bit rough and really, what use did I have for another table?  A few days later we had our first frost warning and I got to thinking about my houseplant.  I usually put them in the bay window and then promptly forget about them.  They wilt and yellow, lose leaves, and otherwise look very sad until Spring when I kick them out of the house and put them on the deck railing in the back.  They’ll grow like gangbusters and look all happy and green before the cycle starts all over again.  Try as I might with my mindless neglect of them I just can’t kill them.

Or, rather I couldn’t until this year when I lost one due to frost.  I kicked them out earlier than usual because of the warm spring which mean quite a bit of schlepping in and out of the house.  I think I gave up at some point with the schlepping and one of them was pretty hard hit so I dumped it, rather unceremoniously, in the compost bin. The remaining plant recovered slightly, but then the drought hit and while I did water several bushes outside I tended to forget about the plant on the deck railing and it, again looked pitiful.

At this point in my story I’m thinking I should be thankful that there is not a Humane Society for Houseplants because I suspect they’d come and liberate the plant from my care.  Promise you won’t turn me in, ok?

I did at one point remember that the plant needed water, although that was probably because my husband had to move it and found the pot was a bit on the light side.  Typically when this happens I put the pot in the tub and turn on the tap until the water pours out the bottom.  Hmmm, yeah, you won’t turn me in to the plant welfare people, right?

I put it back out on the deck railing and then we got rain.  Lots of rain and the plant bounced back better than ever.  Isn’t she pretty?

I couldn’t very well bring her back inside to the bay window.  Clearly, though the window gets the most sunlight in the house (and you wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to find sunlight in this house) it’s not a place that my plant is happy.  But where to put her?  My Mom has gently suggested that perhaps I bring the plant over to her house because she’s the plant whisperer and all plants thrive at her house, but I can’t do that.  I started this plant from trimmings from an office plant back before I had kids.  I have dutifully cut off other parts of the plant, rooted them, and then replanted them.  Sure, I might largely neglect it, but I’ve got time and effort into this plant.

Then I remembered the table in the neglected corner of my Grandma’s basement.  Neglected table?  Neglected plant?  It’s a match made in home decorator’s paradise.

…Or something like that.

Sure, it needs a coat of something to protect the wood, the bolts on the bottom connecting the table top need to be tightened, the legs need some glue, and the entire thing is splashed with paints of unknown origin, but it’s a table.  It would have probably been taken to St. Vinnny’s or thrown out so why not come to my house and hold my plant?  As for the plant splashes, my husband has been directed, repeatedly, that when he gets around to shoring up my table and applying the finish, he not touch those paint splatters.  My Dad will probably think I’m crazy for hiding what is really nice wood behind them, but I think they’re what makes the table what it is.  Rustic.

At first the table just held the plant and it seemed right to me.  Then, I was decorating for fall (and our Autumn Equinox family dinner) and I had all these things to use, but no room on the mantle.  I added in a few paper pieced mini-quilts and then it was perfect.  Neither the table, nor the plant, are neglected.  They’re the focal point of the harvest season and the reminder that nothing is beyond saving.


Letting Go

Saying a final farewell to the garden,
thanking Demeter, Mother Earth, Father Sun,
Green Man, the fairy folk who preside over the lighter half of the year,
and all of the ways that humans have personified the forces at work in our world
to bring about the growing things that surround us.

Letting go of one season as we slide into the next.
Seasons of life, circle of life, wheel of the year.
Thank you for reminding me to be mindful of this present moment.

Big Things

We’re officially taking a canning holiday today. I have what will likely be the last of the tomatoes to make into sauce (375 degrees F in the oven until most of the liquid has evaporated – my new favorite method) as well as some eggplants, cucumbers, and beets to process in some way. Oh, and did I mention a unknown quantity of free concord grapes to arrive at an unknown time this weekend which will likely need immediate processing into jelly?

I have shuffled the children outside to enjoy the nice day and set to work. After dragging out my tools and the food processor I notice that the baby has appeared and is sitting patiently at the table. She always does this when it looks as if I might be making food for her to eat. Never mind the fact that they ate me out of house and Cheerios this morning.

My son soon picked up on whatever unspoken energy current that the baby picked up on, albeit just a few moments later.


“Yes, dear?”

“Are you making lunch?”

“Not yet, I have to finish what I’m doing here first.”

“Well, I’m placing my order now.”


“Are we going to have sandwiches?”


“I want ham and cheese on bread with mayo, lettuce, cucumbers, and peppers.”

“You want the cucumbers and peppers on your sandwich? Like between the bread?”

“Yes, can we eat our lunch outside?”

This probably doesn’t seem all that groundbreaking to you, but my son from the moment he first tasted solid food until this summer regarded vegetables suspiciously. He was never in for more than a bite or two and usually only when asked to take a “no thank you” taste. THIS child wanted vegetables, not on his plate with some sort of dip, but right on his sandwich…and he ate it….all of it.

Big things today I tell you.

The slow garden year

We’ve harvested quite a few greens so far, but it’s all been rather slow going. I’m not weighing our harvests this year as it’s one step I could do without. I’m also not blanching the peas this year before freezing. Nope. Not going to do it. I figure this way I can get them in the freezer and put up faster. It’ll be an experiment.

Odd to be doing this in July, though.